15th International Symposium of the World Society Victimology

Commissioner Helen Milroy, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Australia

ADDRESS: Supporting survivors of institutional child sexual abuse: Learnings from the Royal Commission

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was appointed in 2013 to investigate how institutions have responded to allegations and incidents of sexual abuse of children in Australian institutions.

In our effort to uncover where systems have broken down and make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices to better protect children, the Royal Commission has so far held 28 public hearings around the country into dozens of institutions; rolled out a comprehensive research and policy program and listened to the stories of over 3,400 survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in private sessions.

Commissioner Milroy will outline what the Royal Commission has learnt about the impacts of child sexual abuse, and how our society can help meet the needs of people who have been sexually abused as children in institutions. She will outline the trauma-informed approach Royal Commission staff have adopted in working with survivors, and how this work will contribute to the Royal Commission’s final outcomes.

Commissioner Helen Milroy is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Winthrop Professor at the University of Western Australia. Commissioner Milroy has been on state and national mental health advisory committees and boards with a particular focus on the wellbeing of children.

Commissioner Milroy is a descendant of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia and was born and educated in Perth. She studied medicine at the University of Western Australia, worked as a General Practitioner and Consultant in Childhood Sexual Abuse at the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children for several years before completing specialist training in Child and Adolescent psychiatry.

Commissioner Milroy’s work and research interests include holistic medicine, child mental health, recovery from trauma and grief, application of Indigenous knowledge, cultural models of care, Aboriginal health and mental health, and developing and supporting the Aboriginal medical workforce.

As a result of her appointment as a Commissioner of the Royal Commission, Commissioner Milroy has taken extended leave from her roles with University of Western Australia and Health Department WA, though continues to retain the titles of Winthrop Professor and Consultant Psychiatrist. Commissioner Milroy has stood down from positions with the following organisations:
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Board
  • The Indigenous Clearinghouse Board
  • Indigenous Mental Health Advisory Board